Curling, graininess suitably expressing surreality.

Uh, me curling.

I went curling after hours at a rink owned by some friends of my cousin, out near Sidney.

  • It was surprisingly fun, in the way that bocci, billiards and croquet are fun. Minimally-confrontational exercises in physics.
  • So far I’ve never once been a fan of flattening large areas of land (parking lots, malls, golf courses…), especially land where I understand something about it having been colonized and occupied. It’s extra absurd when the flattening is done for sports. Non-cooperation overload.
  • If I were actually into playing sports, I would set up a beautiful place to play for once. Rinks, fields, courses and courts are all so ugly! Wow. I wonder if spending time in artificially lit, flattened out, weirdly-proportioned, echo-y, energy sinkhole type spaces might be damaging on its own, even without the formalized competition and violence and the addiction to contrived adrenaline rushes. (Hi, I have fun ideas about sports!) Certainly people say that about office cubicles, that the ugliness is demoralizing, even without the bureaucratic hierarchy crap.
  • And, curling was really fun. Pushing heavy things across ice with measurement marks is basically sensory play. Balance, momentum, angles, stretching, muscles. I bet curling kink parties would be fun.

Excessive red and blue in my kitchen, being impressive, calendar trivia…

Red and blue kitchen.

For a moment I was feeling disappointed that I hadn’t come up with any simple theme for the photos I’ve been posting this week. (I don’t know if anyone even noticed them, but the matching sets of red and blue and crafty ideas and so on were making me more comfortable.) I got to thinking about the ways I use gimmicks like that whenever I make things, as a way to add automatic value to whatever I produce. Obvious extra effort. If nothing else, the project will look like a lot of work, which is impressive in certain ways, by default. I’m trying to stop doing that automatically and cut to the chase more. Be more honest instead of more impressive. Probably every adult thinks about this at least a little bit, in some context. I thought I was doing alright with this personal growth project, but then at a festive feast with my extended family, a cousin’s friend commented that I seemed well read. That’s probably my number one trying-to-impress-you habit, being smart. It’s complicated, because I do like to learn things and I do like to share what I find out and not hoard it, but if I want to be your friend I will almost surely start telling you a lot of fanciful trivia related by a larger theme instead of, for example, asking you to tell me about things you seem to know that I don’t. Reading about DIY education is helping me work on this. It makes nonconsensual teaching really, really embarrassing.

So. As my early morning mind-map hopefully explains, I was all set to embrace the non-patterned nature of my really low-effort holiday posts. Then I got to thinking about how much I love the way the last week of the calendar year can get divorced from daily reality and kind of out of time. Students and lots of workers are on holiday from their regular schedules, you never know when shops are going to be open, many households have visitors or go visiting, a lot of people eat really strangely… Regular patterns don’t hold. It reminds me of an ancient Roman intercalary festival that I can’t remember the name of. So now of course, that’s my theme for this week’s little photos. Intercalary disorder. I think this sort of doubly violates my goal of not acting so impressive.

Old men knitting, a gap, then young men knitting

Flickr photo

I posted a few photos of knitting ideas this week, and when I was thinking about what to post to round on the week’s set, I got to thinking about men knitting.

Several times, I’ve had old white men come up to me while I’m knitting (or especially the few times Galen has been knitting in public), and they’ve talked about how they used to knit, or about how all their sailor or fisherman coworkers used to knit their own socks, hats and sweaters. People in my grandparents’ generation. Pretty much the exact dudes in that photo. The middle one is knitting. Can you tell? That’s my usual move, knitting while everybody else drinks beer.

My gramma, who has been my main knitting tutor other than books, is totally unphased about men knitting. She seems to find it normal and expected, which strikes me as odd since knitting is now cast as such a gendered activity, as a feminine art to be reclaimed and valued, as something our grandmothers did. When guys knit now, it’s celebrated as a happy transgression similar to chicks fixing cars. I should ask my grandparents about this, see if they remember a break when western or North American men stopped knitting.

(My brief googling for pictures of men knitting turned up lots of men knitting within apparently conventional knitting roles in Peru — Andean male knitting traditions are well-known— as well as Turkey, plus net-makers all over the place. Only the young urban male knitters in North America had any kind of “breaking tradition” vibe happening. E.g., a drummer, a subway rider.)

I wonder if it has anything to do with different modes of transmitting knowledge. I’ve never seen any written knitting instructions or patterns geared to guys before the last few years (Knitting with Balls and the like). All the heaps of vintage commercial patterns I’ve seen are for the ladies. I would assume the knitting sailors and knitting workmen maybe learned it right from another person. I could also see job changes, mass production, world wars, and gendered income differences being involved in there.

I haven’t even tried to google this. It’s just going in a pile with other vague research topics that I casually keep an eye out for. Knitting grandfathers. Maybe I’ve got some.